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Ch. 17 Role of Interest Groups

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John Hogan

on 3 May 2013

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Transcript of Ch. 17 Role of Interest Groups

Chapter 17.1 Functions of Interest Groups Types of Interest Groups Roles of Interest Groups Interest groups help minorities have their concerns represented in the political arena. Three ways interest groups
bring attention to minority
concerns: 1. organizing people who share a concern
2. providing a means of political participation
3. supplying information to the public and
to policy makers Organizing People People with strong opinions typically join an interest group in the hope that working with others who have shared concerns will strenghten their cause. Examples: farmers, businesspeople, workers,
environmentalists, feminists, civil rights activists,
students, etc. Providing for Political Participation Joining an interest group gives
citizens another way to participate
in the political process. Interests groups affect government
by making minority views known to
the public and to policy makers. Supplying Information Interest groups inform
the public about their
concerns. Interest groups are formed to
address economic, social, and cultural concerns. Agricultural Groups Address government policies Agribusinesses - large companies that
run farms, make and distribute farm equipment and supplies, and process, store and distribute farm crops. Examples:
American Farm Bureau Federation
National Cotton Council of America Business Groups Formed because of heavy government
regulation on business Examples:
Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A.
Business Roundtable Trade associations are organizations
of business firms within an industry. They
represent the political concerns of a specific
industry. Other interest groups:
Professional Groups
Societal Groups
Cause-Based Groups
Public Interest Groups (citizens group) 17.2: How Interest Groups Work Participating in the Electoral Process Interest groups do not make government decisions. Instead, they seek to influcence government decisions by...
a. participating in the electoral process
b. lobbying members of Congress or government agencies
c. addressing their concerns through the legal system
d. trying to influcence public opinion by using the media, demonstrating and protesting. Participating in the Political Process Endorsing Candidates Traditionally, interest groups have influenced the political process by endorsing candidates (giving a public declaration of support). How successful are endorsements? Many interest group members vote for or a against a candidate based solely on his or her view on an issue of concern to the group. This is called "single-issue voting." Political Action Committees (PACS) Interest groups support political
candidates by donating money to their
campaigns. Interest groups can't use their
own funds for campaign donations,
they must contribute through PACS PACS usually donate more money
to incumbents because they have a
greater chance of winning their elections. Lobbying Lobbyists provide information about
the legislation in which they are interested Most lobbyists are experts on their
subjects and often have large staffs
to do their research Interest groups may use lobbyists
to promote their issue to legislators On your own: Read the History of Lobbying
and Lobbying Today on pages 392 and 393. Visit http://www.opensecrets.org/ and
click on the "lobbying" link on the lower
right-hand side of the page. What companies
or organization spend the most on hiring
lobbyists? What are their interests? What are the top lobbying firms? 17.3: Interest Groups and the Public Good Benefits of Interest Groups IGs provide a voice for minority concerns.

IGs supply information that lawmakers and the general public can use to make informed decisions about policies. Representing Minority Concerns By giving minority concerns a voice in the political
process through lobbying, filing, lawsuits, and protesting, interest groups can temper majority rule with appropriate attention to minority concerns. Providing Information IGs promote the public good by increasing the
awareness of officials and the public about its issues of concern. By providing information, IGs enable policy makers and the general public to make more informed decisions about public policy. Criticisms of Interest Groups Some politicians may be overly influenced by "special interests," or IGs. IGs are criticized for having too much sway over
the political system. Critics believe that some of these groups gain this control through financial influence. Financial Influence Today, IG influence comes in the form
of campaign contributions. Many people resent what they see as
businesses' and other wealthy groups' practices
of providing financial support to elected officials
in exchange fo political influence. Wealthy and
well-educated people can more easily form
interest groups than can the disadvantaged, who
may feel stronger about an issue but lack the
resources to organize. Go to http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/superpacs.php What is a SuperPac? What court case led to the creation of SuperPacs? As of May 2, 2013, how many SuperPacs are there? Click on "Outside Spending"
What Supreme Court decision
allows corporations and unions
to make political expenditures? On what are these expenditures usually made on? How does this affect the public? Who are the "Heavy Hitters" in the SuperPac world? List the top 5, then select any Heavy Hitter and write a brief outline of its activities... in other words, who do they support. ON YOUR OWN
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